When you’re setting up a WordPress blog, there are a number of crucial plugins to install, particularly if you have any intention of ranking well in the search engines. In this article, we’ll cover four plugins that every WordPress webmaster (and SEO) should think about installing right from the word “go.”

(1) Google XML sitemaps – A common issue for webmasters is not getting their pages indexed in the search engines. Indeed, the problem stems initially from not getting those pages crawled in the first place. If your webpages aren’t
crawled and indexed, then you can forget about ranking. Google XML sitemaps takes care of a lot of the work for you. Once installed and activated, it will create a site map that helps Googlebot find, crawl and ultimately index all the pages on your domain. This is obviously a crucial step in your SEO campaign

(2) All-in-one SEO – All-in-one SEO is an excellent way to make the process of optimizing your pages as easy as possible. It’s not the only plugin that does this, but it is one of the best. If you’re not comfortable with HTML and don’t feel up to creating title tags and meta descriptions in the source code of your site, you’ll love All-in-one SEO. Once it’s installed anda activated, all you need to do is type in your titles and descriptions just as you would type in any other content. On-page SEO becomes incredibly simple.

(3) WP Super cache – Not everyone would expect this plugin to be on the list, but there’s a good reason for including it: it helps to speed up your wordpress blog, and site speed is one of the factors that Google look for in ranking sites. In most cases, you should be fine without it. But if you’re experiencing a large amount of traffic, WP super cache can help to serve up your content to users more quickly than would otherwise be possible. So if you expect heavy traffic any time soon, install WP Super cache to get your blog prepared.

(4) Statcounter – Statcounter is a superb way to monitor the traffic to your blog. As was the case with All-in-one SEO, this is not the only plugin that fulfils the purpose. You could also use Google Analytics. However, many users find Statcounter’s interface more intuitive and some are reluctant to use Google for absolutely everything. If you’re in that situation, you can easily install statcounter and see who’s coming to your blog, how they’re getting there, how long they spend on each page and much more besides.

There are of course many other plugins that you may consider using on your wordpress blog. Everything depends on how intend to attract visitors to your website and what sort of user experience you wish to deliver. If you’re an affiliate marketer helping users find the best price on ipad 2 tablets, for instance, then you might think about installing a wordress plugin that offers price comparison. This would be a wonderful way to use the power of the wordpress plugin to satisfy your users. There are several good price comparison plugins for wordpress, including Comparipress, Price Table and many others as well.

Another sort if plugin you may consider is the social button plugin. There are many such available, including Social Toolbar and ShareThis. These are a great way to improve your social media marketing, which is a useful add-on to your SEO campaign. Not only will visitors find your blog posts through the search engines, but they will also come across them on their friends’ Facebook updates, in their Twitter feeds and so on. Installing a social plugin is simple and it can be extremely gratifying to see your page getting more and more likes, tweets and Google + 1s.

Finally, if you’re interested in tracking, cloaking or even rotating affiliate links on your wordpress site, you might be interested in the EzWpRotator plugin which allows you to do just that with maximum ease. This can also be used to split test different offers and pages. It’s true that (unlike the others) this last plugin is not free. However, at just $5 it represents excellent value for money.

Hopefully this post has given you a good idea of some excellent wordpress plugins that you can use on your sites. The majority of these are free and extremely simple to activate on any wordpress blog. You can be sure that they will improve the quality of your site, help you rank better in the search engines, attract more traffic to your blog and allow you to monetize your content better than before.

Guest Post By: Simon Heller blogs about wordpress, wordpress plugins and anything related to the field of blogging and SEO. He aims to provide practical information that webmasters can use to improve the ranking of their sites and the experience they provide for users.